FlexPod Review
You can bring up desktops on Apple, Windows and Linux systems. It allowed us to centralize our file stores and user data.

Valuable Features

We run our VDI system on FlexPod, so I like the fact that it's easy to make changes to it. It was really easy to install, setup and get users involved. The user experience is really cool because you can bring up desktops on Apple, Windows and Linux systems. It really solved a lot of problems.

Improvements to My Organization

It solved a big problem for us; it solved a big user contention issue that we had with file stores and user data all over the place. Now, it's all centralized.

Room for Improvement

The only thing that comes to mind is more hooks in the Citrix side for working with Citrix more interactively. Speaking from the storage side, it is very straight forward and it's just like allocating storage for any other device in your environment, which is really cool.

Improving integration between the different interfaces would possibly help us. The thing about FlexPod is that you don't have to do any architecture to it; it solves the problem. You plug it in, and it solves the problem for you. It's hard to comment on where to take it to the next level. If we’re going to take it to the next level, being an engineer, I'd redesign the whole thing. :)

It's really good; it's very good the way it is. It's a great solution to an existing problem.

Stability Issues

It’s been stable; it's been great. We've got great up time with the NetApp storage. The UCS servers are rock solid.

Scalability Issues

We have not had any scalability issues yet. We're probably six, seven or eight months into it, and we don't really have an expansion plan for it at this point.

Customer Service and Technical Support

I have not used technical support for this product in particular.

Previous Solutions

The previous solution was just a standard desktop Windows laptops and desktops platform and we just moved our users to FlexPod. We had user, data and file shares all over the place; now they're in a central location. The user experience for desktops was haphazard and they were getting a lot of different calls to the help desk on different issues with individual work stations. Now, if there's a problem, it's going to be a generic problem for everyone but it's a lot easier to troubleshoot a desktop issue or roll out another application for a user. It's very easy to add an application. I think it's a great productivity and time-saving tool.

Initial Setup

From the outside, initial setup looked very, very complex but with FlexPod and everything being together in one unit, it actually makes it very easy, very simple to implement. I think that it was a little complex but it went very smoothly in the implementation and installation.

Other Solutions Considered

We have a relationship with NetApp and EMC, and it was kind of a pure play to go with NetApp. We have a Cisco relationship, also, and we have some in-house Citrix talent or skill sets, so it was easy to make that choice.

As far as some of the important criteria I look for in a vendor, we've got a relationship with our NetApp vendor. I can only really address the storage side because my interaction is only from the storage side. I usually don't deal with the UCS server side, the VMware side, or the Citrix side. I really can't comment on those but we've got a really good relationship with NetApp itself. They help to drive the purchase and make it easy for us in purchasing.

Other Advice

Work closely with your vendor. From the storage side – I always start with storage – you need to build a team that includes VMware, the storage people, the Citrix guys and someone who knows UCS. Once you have that team in place, your things are going to go very, very smoothly.

We haven't really had to look at expanding it but, I can see that it'll be an interesting experience doing expansion on the storage side, so I think four stars would be accurate for usability and implementation.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.

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